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  • Author: Katherine C. Epstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: This article uses the centenary of the First World War as an opportunity to re-examine a major element of the existing literature on the war—the strategic implications of supposed British decline—as well as analogies to the contemporary United States based upon that interpretation of history. It argues that the standard declinist interpretation of British strategy rests to a surprising degree upon the work of the naval historian Arthur Marder, and that Marder's archival research and conceptual framework were weaker than is generally realized. It suggests that more recent work appearing since Marder is stronger and renders the declinist strategic interpretation difficult to maintain. It concludes by considering the implications of this new work for analogies between the United States today and First World War-era Britain, and for the use of history in contemporary policy debates.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America
  • Author: Margaret MacMillan
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: A century ago this autumn the first battle of the Marne ended Germany's attempt to crush France and its ally Britain quickly. In that one battle alone the French lost 80,000 dead and the Germans approximately the same. By comparison, 47,000 Americans died in the whole of the Vietnam War and 4,800 coalition troops in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In August and September 1914 Europe, the most powerful and prosperous part of the world, had begun the process of destroying itself. A minor crisis in its troubled backyard of the Balkans had escalated with terrifying speed to create an all-out war between the powers. 1 'Again and ever I thank God for the Atlantic Ocean,' wrote Walter Page, the American ambassador in London; and in Washington his president, Woodrow Wilson, agreed.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, America, Europe, Washington, France, London, Vietnam, Germany, Balkans, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: David Benn
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The Crimean War of 1854–6 has been described in many books. Nevertheless, the present book, written by a professor of history at the University of London, does in important ways supply a new dimension to the subject. It provides a wealth of new colour and detail, mentioning for instance that France bore the brunt of the fighting and that 40 American doctors volunteered their services on the Russian side. Above all, it places the war in its historical context, relying not just on English but on French, Russian and Turkish sources. The subject is of obvious importance to diplomatic historians—and also to military historians, if only because it seems to provide a textbook example of how not to conduct a war.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, London
  • Author: Trevor Mccrisken
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: It has been almost ten years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon led President George W. Bush to proclaim a 'war on terror'. This article focuses on the difficulties faced by his successor, Barack Obama, as he has attempted to move away from much of the Bush rhetoric and practice of counterterrorism. Obama came to office determined to 'reboot' US counter-terrorism policy so that it would not only be more effective but also more in keeping with what he perceived as the core moral values and principles at the heart of American political culture. For many observers, Obama has not lived up to expectations as he has not made wholesale changes to counter-terrorism policy. This article argues, however, that he always intended to not only maintain but, in fact, deepen Bush's war against terrorism, not because he was trapped by Bush's institutionalized construction of a global war on terror, but because he agrees fundamentally with the core assumptions and imperatives of that war on terror narrative. Nonetheless, Obama promised to continue combating terrorism in ways that were distinctive from his predecessor, not least because a higher moral standard would be applied to the conduct of counter-terrorism. By addressing his policies toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, Guantanamo Bay and torture, and the use of unmanned drone attacks, it is argued that Obama's 'war' against terrorism is not only in keeping with the assumptions and priorities of the last ten years but also that, despite some successes, it is just as problematic as that of his predecessor.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, America